Sunday, 17 January 2010

Best Movies of 2009

So, 2009 was a fascinating year in the movies. It ended spectacularly with Avatar, with some light relief from In the Loop there in the middle, and so much fun with Funny People. Notice I deliberated didn't mention summer turkey Transformer 2. Oh balls, I did. With my eye on the Oscars and the Golden Globes (to be presented by our very own Ricky Gervais, pictured), here's my top flicks for the last year of the noughties....

1. The Hangover: Not quite as good as it could have been but nevertheless one of the most fun movies of the year, a Vegas caper tale with lots of hi jinks thrown in.
2. In The Loop : Malcolm "shouty bloke" Tucker wonders round Whitehall tearing his hair out at Minsterial incompetence, with the bonus of a stateside cast including James Gandolfini in the run up to a fictional war somewhere in the Middle East. Lots and lots of joyous, emphatic and wonderful swearing.
3. Avatar: Special effects extravaganza from James Cameron turned out to not suck despite looking like a giant turkey in the trailer. He didn't scrimp on the script either, and the result is probably going to be the biggest grossing movie ever, beating the record he set with Titanic.
4. Funny People: Surprisingly insightful character drama described as a comedy, with a bit of satire on Hollywood thrown in, all about a hit Hollywood comedian-actor, who's life is turned upside down when he is diagnosed with cancer. No, it's not depressing, but Judd Apatow is going to have to stop going over familiar ground soon......
5. State Of Play: Classy US remake of the brilliant BBC drama minseries, turning into a movie on the grand tradition of Washington-based political conspiracy movies.
6. Taking Of Pelham 123: Somewhat underrated by reviews, this actually didn't suck, and John Travolta made a pretty good, scary baddie.
7. The Wrestler: a bravura acting performance from a broken down ol' piece of meat.
8. The Damned United: Sheen Does it again, this time with a quip-perfect Brian Clough, in movie of Dave Peaces' novel about Ol Big Ed's disasterous spell as manager of Leeds United.
9. Up In The Air: George Clooney satirises his off screen persona in this recession comedy about an executive who loves corporate loyalty cards, air miles and travellling first class more than he loves people. Quite likely to win something in this awards season....
10. Frost/Nixon: Michael Sheen plays slippery, lightweight David Frost in out of his depth, in this Ron Howard directed flick that was described as being "Rocky" for journalists, giving "Tricky Dicky" the trial he never had.
11. Moon: Brillant throwback sci-fi movie, harking back to the likes of 2001, Blade Runner, Alien, and Dark Star, directed by Duncan Jones (son of David Bowie), and with a truly incredibly performance from Sam Rockwell, who carries a whodunnit/ghost story/character drama. Totally different from anything else that came out this past year, and refreshing for it.

I also enjoyed Star Trek, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Gran Torino and District 9. My money's on Up In The Air, The Road, Up, and perhaps Inglourious Basterds. I'm also now realising that there's a distinct lack of foreign movies in my list, something I shall endevour to rectify this year! Anyway, best of luck, especially to Ricky Gervais with presenting the ceremony tomorrow, despite the fact that The Invention Of Lying sucked....

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